We are always down for extending the experience of a novel far beyond its final pages. That's where film and television come in. How does our imagination measure up to the big screen adaptation? It's always fun to find out. And in 2023, there's a whole host of books being made into movies and TV. From classics like Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Alice Walker's The Color Purple to an A24 adaptation of Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous and Orion Picture's imagining of Michelle Zauner's memoir.
Release date: January 12
Historical heroines are having their big Hollywood moment, and it appears Emily Brontë is next in line. Sex Education star Emma Mackey will lead Frances O’Connor's directorial debut which zooms into the life of the beloved author, specifically on the period she spent writing Wuthering Heights. Misfit, genius, rebel? You be the judge on January 12.
Release date: January 20
To slap this Sofia Coppola film with the foreboding AIDS drama sticker doesn't do it justice. Adapted from the memoir of Alysia Abbott and with a script written by Andrew Durham, a gay man who like Abbott also lost his father to the AIDS crisis, this tale is placed in the right hands and it shows. While earlier films use idols like Rock Hudson and Freddie Mercury to portray the epidemic, like hit series It's A Sin, Fairyland zooms in on the ordinary and invisible lives that were devastated by the virus. Told from the unseen perspective of a father-daughter dynamic that begins in a queer 70s commune in San Francisco and ends in New York City, Fairyland tenderly tracks Alysia's experience of love, resentment, grief and caregiving in tandem with her father's roaring life and sudden decline. A reminder that coming-of-age stories are Coppola's territory, with a cast comprising of Scoot McNairy, Emilia Jones, Maria Bakalova and Geena Davis.
Release date: January 21
There's a reason Kristen Roupenian's short story for The New Yorker went gangbusters upon publication. It summed up the uncomfortable and grotesque aspects of modern dating perfectly. So we're riveted to see how this translates to the silver screen. Either way, with Nicholas Braun cast as Robert and Emilia Jones, Margot, you can tell they've nailed the relationship dynamic already.
Release date: January 21
The best thing about the adaptation of Eileen is that the script was also written by it's author Ottessa Moshfegh, and her husband Luke Goebel. Set in a bleak New England town in the mid 1960s, like My Year of Rest and Relaxation, the plot follows another female anti-hero: Eileen Dunlop. Eileen, played by Thomasin McKenzie is a miserable 24-year-old secretary at a prison for boys who is stuck caring for her abusive, alcoholic father. She too drinks like a fish, eats little and is grossed out by her own sexuality. When the enchanting character of Dr. Rebecca Saint John (Anne Hathaway) is hired at the prison, Eileen is drawn in and becomes entangled in the counselors dark secret.
Release date: February 13
What do we do with the perpetrators of sexual violence? Is the answer in rehabilitation, forgiveness, retribution? In the wake of Me Too, it's this question that we continue to grapple with, both inside and away from the culture. Sarah Polley's adaptation of Women Talking, the 2018 novel by Miriam Toews, centres this conversation. Each possible solution is reasoned and played out as several women gather to discuss a pattern of sexual abuse committed by the men in the small Mennonite community against its female citizens. It's a true story brought to the screen by formidable actors like Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Claire Foy, Michelle McLeod and Judith Ivey.
Release date: March 16
A Kazuo Ishiguro screenplay. A handful of Oscar nominations. By all accounts, Living is a necessary watch. Lead by Bill Nighy and Sex Education's Aimée Lou Wood, the film is adapted from Ikiru, a 1952 Japanese drama about a man who is diagnosed with terminal illness and must rediscover how to live to ensure his last days are meaningful.
Killers of the Flower Moon
Release date: May 2023
Martin Scorsese has set his sights on the third book of literary nonfiction from lauded journalist and staff writer at The New Yorker, David Grann. Killers of the Flower Moon narrows in on the Reign of Terror, a period during the 1920s in Oklahoma that was marked by bloodshed, as members of the oil-rich Osage Nation were murdered while authorities failed to pin down the killers. A host of big dog actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brendan Fraser, Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons are involved, we expect it will be a good one.
Release date: July 21
If there's one thing we know with certainty about any Christopher Nolan film, it's that it's going to be big. The film will be based on American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin. The book actually won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, so we're guessing, like all Nolan films, that the storyline will be fairly intricate. Add Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt into the mix, and watch us struggle to decide whether to watch Barbie or Oppenheimer first.
Release date: November 3
Dune director Denis Villeneuve has rallied a cast to end all casts for the blockbuster's sequel. To all the Dune-obsessed, it will please you to know that Villeneuve has finally found a Lady Margot Fenring, tapping our dream girl Léa Seydoux for the critical role. Seydoux will join Hollywood heavyweights like yes, Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, but also Florence Pugh who was selected for the role of Princess Irulan, Christopher Walken who is onboard as Princess Irulan's father, Emperor Shaddam IV, and Austin Butler, who is intended for the role of Baron Harkonnen's evil nephew. Then there's the lineup from the first film who have all confirmed their return to Dune: Part 2, which includes the likes of Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, and heartthrob, Javier Bardem.
Release date: December 14
All Willy Wonka-related films are fun – especially as far as the prop department is concerned. We love a bit of eye candy, and for the latest adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Timothée Chalamet fits right in. Where Wonka differs from previous interpretations is that it will focus instead on the confectioner's early life. Thankfully for us, this involves lots of singing and dancing. May the wellspring of Chalamet movies never dry up!
The Color Purple
Release date: December 30
Alice Walker's deeply moving novel The Color Purple may already have a worthy adaptation to its name, but does it have a musical? After starring in the Steven Spielberg-directed film as Sofia, Oprah Winfrey has taken it upon herself to fashion the 1982 novel into a movie musical. With a tremendous cast including the likes of Halle Bailey as Nettie, Colman Domingo as Mister, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, H.E.R. as Speak and Fantasia Taylor as Celie, we'll be lining up at the theatres to catch a load of this one.
Release date: TBC
Queer British director Andrew Haigh is lining up Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott to play lovers in an adaptation of Strangers, the award-winning 1987 novel by Japanese author, Taichi Yamada. For those who haven't read Yamada's novel, that's completely fine, Haigh has only loosely based Strangers off the source material. However if you're looking for an indication of what to expect plot-wise, according to Variety, the film revolves around Andrew Scott's character, Adam, who is a screenwriter living alone in London. Following a chance encounter with his neighbour Harry (Mescal), Adam becomes rapidly besotted and as the pair grow close, Adam is drawn to his childhood home where he discovers that his parents, both long dead, are in actual fact still alive and look the same age they did thirty years prior.
Release date: TBC
In 1955 Elia Kazan adapted John Steinbeck's great American classic into a film with James Dean and Jo Van Fleet. Now more than half a century later Kazan's granddaughter, actor Zoe Kazan, is set to do the same. In her version of East of Eden, Florence Pugh plays antiheroine Cathy Ames. Published in 1952, East of Eden is set in the Salinas Valley of California, in a period stretching from the American Civil War through to the end of the First World War. The novel explores the stories of the Hamilton Family, a brood of nine children who immigrate from Ireland, and the Trask family, helmed by patriarch Adam Trask. As the story continues, it focuses more intimately on the Trask family and the drama enthralling Adam, wife Cathy and children, Cal and Aron.
Release date: TBC
We thought no novel would ever wound us like Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, that is until On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong fell into our laps. Oh, how we cried. Now it appears we're about to repeat the experience; A24 has a film adaptation of the book in the works and Ocean Vuong has just finished the script.
Release date: TBC
MGM's Orion Pictures has acquired the rights to Michelle Zauner's best selling memoir, Crying in H Mart. The memoir – an expansion on an essay she wrote for The New Yorker in 2018 – delves into Zauner's upbringing as a Korean-American, losing her mother, and reflects on the importance of food in her life and the moments she shared with her mother over meals. At the moment little else is known about the project, but we have our fingers crossed for a 2022 release.
Release date: TBC
For his next film, Willem Dafoe is doing his best Hunter S. Thompson impression. The actor has been tapped to play a scattered, famously chaotic writer in the film adaptation of Cheryl Della Pietra's novel Gonzo Girl. Bringing the movie into fruition is none other than Patricia Arquette, marking her feature film directorial debut. If the film stays true to the source material, it will follow Alley Russo played by Camila Morrone of Daisy Jones & The Six fame. Set in 1992, Russo has just landed a covetable job as the assistant to legendary gonzo journalist Walker Reade. Alley has been tasked with finally getting Reade to sit down and write the book he's long promised his publisher, but when she arrives to his compound in Aspen she finds a writer who's gone to seed after decades of substance abuse. So what to do? Instead of calling it a day, Alley is determined to filter his mostly incoherent rants and raves into something substantial...
Release date: January 4
Elena Ferrante and her remarkable stories are a hot commodity of late. Maggie Gyllenhaal recently adapted one of her books, The Lost Daughter, starring Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson and Paul Mescal, and Netflix has decided it must do the same with Ferrante's novel The Lying Life of Adults. The TV adaptation has been broken down into an eight-part drama; with the series landing on the streamer in early January.
Release date: March 3
The official line on Daisy Jones & the Six is that it's meant to be about a fictional band, but it's clearly inspired by the very real rock group Fleetwood Mac who's behind-the-scenes drama infamously drove their musical output. Based on the best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones & The Six is a limited musical-drama series arriving on Prime Video detailing the rise and precipitous fall of Fleetwood Mac. Riley Keough is set to take the stage for the musical drama as the would-be Stevie Nicks. The role feels only fitting for the daughter of singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley (and granddaughter of Elvis Presley).
Lessons in Chemistry
Release date: 2023
Published by Penguin back in early 2022, Apple TV picked up this New York Times bestseller and is fashioning it into a drama series to be released in 2023. Behind the source material is author, science editor and copywriter Bonnie Garmus, who transports readers back to California in the 1960s through her character Elizabeth Zott, a single mother and chemist-turned-cooking show host who unwittingly finds herself starting a feminist revolution through the television. Brie Larson will take the lead role, starring alongside Lewis Pullman, Aja Naomi King, Stephanie Koenig and Patrick Walker.
Release date: TBC
Based on Irish writer Naoise Dolan’s debut 2020 novel, the series has been described as a modern romance with a twist. If you're wondering just how good the storyline is, the rights to the book had already been optioned even before it had hit shelves. Dolan has confirmed that she will be staying on board to co-write and direct; with Bridgerton's Phoebe Dynevor also working in front and behind the scenes as executive producer.